Ancient Greek was all Greek to Trevor Hewitt — until he learned the Biblical tongue and created a hand-written manuscript of 16,000 words, spelling out the Gospel of St John in letters of gold on a purple background.
And when news of the achievement got to the ears of Archbishop Sean Brady, the Roman Catholic Primate was so impressed that he wanted the framed masterpiece to hang in the hallway in Ara Coeli, his working office at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh.
It was quite a coup for Portadown man Trevor (61) who is blind in one eye and who was presented with a special St Patrick’s Medal by the Archbishop — an honour which is reserved usually for ambassadors, VIPs and people who have done something extra special for the Church.
“I’m every bit as pleased with the medal as the Cardinal is with my creation,” said Trevor. “I almost feel like an Olympic gold medalist. There’s an image of St Patrick on one side of the medal and of St Patrick’s Cathedral on the other. It’s superb.”
Trevor, a man of many talents, spent 12 years studying books of Ancient Greek, studies which included two theses on New Testament Greek which he sent to Pope Benedict XVI and for which he received letters of congratulations from the Vatican.
Then, having honed his skills on writing the language, he spent six months of painstaking concentration writing St John’s Gospel in letters of gold onto a purple background on MDF boarding, added 150 ornamental fish on a silver surround and had it framed by friends David and Tom McCreery.
“When we delivered it to Armagh, the Cardinal was so taken with it that he removed an oil painting from the wall, hung up the Gospel masterpiece and gave me the medal,” said Trevor. “He was so friendly and communicated with us on our level.”
Trevor has had quite a few jobs in many places over the years, including sales, the building trade, catering and journalism in countries as diverse as Germany, Holland, Ireland, England and Spain.
“But nothing I’ve ever done has given me as much satisfaction as learning Ancient Greek and committing it to this framed St John’s Gospel,” he said.
“I feel as if I’ve really achieved something.”